SpaceX launched satellite on Falcon 9 rocket

Es'hail-2 SpaceX Falcon 9

The launch of Es'hail-2 on a Falcon 9 rocket tied SpaceX's launch record set last year of 18 launches in one year. Credit SpaceX webcast

If that happens, it would be a major first to see the same rocket successfully carry out three orbital missions. She successfully launched the Qatari satellite Es hail-2.

Weather forecasts cite a 40 percent chance that rain showers or high-level winds could disrupt the 3:46 p.m. liftoff, which would push the launch further into its window until 5:29 p.m. In July 2018, it was used when launching the canadian satellite.

There's a busy week of liftoffs ahead, including a Russian Progress cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station that's due to start on Friday, a Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply mission that's now set for launch early Saturday, and a West Coast SpaceX launch on Monday that's aimed at delivering more than 60 small satellites to orbit as part of a dedicated-rideshare mission facilitated by Seattle-based Spaceflight. The new satellite will provide telecommunication services to the Middle East and North Africa. After a near-bankruptcy and a string of failures, Musk's company relied on funding from NASA to build Falcon 9. Two firings were required to put the Es'hail 2 relay station into the required elliptical "transfer" orbit, one with a predicted low point of just 115 miles and a high point of about 22,370. The satellite will use its own power to achieve a geostationary orbit. It was SpaceX's 31st successful booster recovery. In keeping with SpaceX's reusability plan, the first stage had been flown before.

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If the SpaceX is able to launch all the proposed satellites to space, the number will increase six-fold. Half of the satellites must be placed into space within 6 years and the rest within 9 years.

Plummeting back to Earth tail first, the rocket's four landing legs unfolded moments before a single engine re-started to slow the vehicle for landing. The company already has recovered rocket boosters several times, both on land and on drone ships at sea.

As usual, the space company landed the Falcon 9's first stage on SpaceX's autonomous drone ship, named Of Course I Still Love You, in the Atlantic Ocean.

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